Illustration de surfaces de couleurs violettes, beiges et blanches

A resistant product is a durable product?

So, yes, it may seem like a simple question, but when we answer it, we realize that the term "durable" is not so clear...

Let's start at the beginning: what are we talking about when we use the word "durability"?
A durable product is a product designed to last a long time. Simple, basic. Is that all? Of course not, we'll explain it all to you :)

When we talk about durability for a product, we are talking about its durability "as new" (or "physical").
Doesn't that really help you? Patience, everything will become clearer :)
That is to say, it is a question of evaluating its life span without intervention (a repair for example). And for that, we have to measure its resistance and its performances via laboratory tests (we will come back to this later).
The idea is to test this product to deal with performance problems over time. And we are talking about performance problems only! A desire to change, a color that no longer pleases ... are not part of the causes of end of life on which our teams are working. The objective is to treat the intrinsic qualities of the product.

Why is the durability of a product important?

Renewing a product less often means making savings from both an economic and environmental point of view. Extending their life span, and therefore reducing their renewal rate, appears to be an essential lever to reduce the environmental impact of each one.
The bonus? You can live a lot of adventures with your product: your backpack will become a faithful travel companion and your bike, a great original vintage edition for your children.

But for the company, you might ask, what is the point? Offering more reliable, more durable products also means generating fewer quality problems and developing real trust between consumers and the brand. Also, developing durable products answers a question that will only become more and more present: how to decorrelate economic growth and environmental impact? Being able to rent, sell second-hand, repair, reuse... products becomes an imperative.
In short, everyone has something to gain.

How to define durability?

With tests, tests, tests. Some are done in the lab, others in the field.

And not just any field: everything is done to put the product to the test. A test on the UV resistance of a tent? Let's go to the sun. For months, this tent will realize the dream of many: travel to follow the sun. Tempting, isn't it ? ;) To test the resistance of a scooter, we will call upon a sportsman to ask him to realize all the possible figures. We equip the scooter with sensors and all that will be left is to have all these movements reproduced by machines in the lab...

Let's talk about the lab: it will be a crucial step to make the product go through an accelerated aging process. And if we can put a component through these tests rather than a product, it's even better... Why? So that it is even more efficient later on: a component can be used for many finished products!

The three pillars of sustainability:
- diagnosis: the causes of the end of life on the product,
- tests (lab and field),
- interpretation of results.

The difference between a relative durability and a quantified lifetime

You think you have understood everything? Good, let's add a little more :) We can now approach another notion: the relative durability. Here, we have to admit that quantifying a lifespan is very complicated. And sometimes, it is not even what we are looking for: we are looking above all to know which is the most durable product (on a scale from 1 to 10 generally).

But what if we really want to quantify a lifetime? Then we are talking about a quantified lifetime. In this case, it is essential to know the root causes of each problem.

We distinguish between:
- youth defects, which happen immediately on a product, rather related to a manufacturing problem, a quality problem),
- accidental defects: breakage, falls...
- wear and tear defects. It is by taking into account these three types of defects that we can define a product's life span.
Not all products benefit from this method, on the contrary. This method is rather applied on investment products (= expensive products 💶). For textiles, accessories, shoes ... it is the principle of relative life that will prevail.

Illustration d'une femme tenant une paire de jumelle optique à ses yeux

The difference between durability and sustainable development

Durability refers to the ability of a product or system to last a long time and maintain its performance and quality over time. This can include the quality of the materials used, the way they are used, the ease of repair and recycling, among other factors.

Sustainable development, on the other hand, refers to an economic, social and environmental model that aims to preserve resources for future generations. This includes practices and policies that aim to minimize negative impacts on the environment, promote social and economic justice, and stimulate sustainable economic growth.

In other words, durability can be seen as one aspect of sustainable development, but sustainable development encompasses a broad range of policies and practices that go beyond the mere sustainability of products.

So finally, a resistant product is a durable product?

Not necessarily :) The durability of a product depends on several criteria, such as the quality of the materials used, the way it is manufactured, the conditions of use and the ease of repair and recycling.
A product can be durable if we are talking about strength or ability to withstand extreme conditions, without being sustainable over time... For example, a drop-resistant cell phone may still not be durable if it is made of less durable materials or if it cannot be easily repaired or recycled.
In summary, the durability of a product depends on many factors and strength is only one aspect of durability.

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At DECATHLON, we consider the notion of durability to be significant if it exceeds the median lifespan of the market by 30%, while maintaining its technical performance. It is from this threshold that a product can be qualified as Ecodesign.

Illustration of a tree with people

What is a durable product?

Spoiler: if your big toe pokes a hole through your sock or your tyre punctures within the first few kilometres, they are not durable products.

Picture of people hiking in the mountain

Information linked to the product's environmental qualities - AGEC legislation

Where do new products come from? How are they manufactured? To what extent are they recyclable?New compulsory info with AGEC legislation.

Committed to preventing the disposal of products and components

Committed to preventing the disposal of products and components

The value chain's sustainable development strategy leader, Céline Crouzat's testimonial.

Illustration man repairing a machine

The concept of repairability

Or how to encourage a longer life for our products.